Wisdom: A Leaders Journey

The Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon answered, “… give your servant a discerning heart [wisdom] to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

God said to him, “… I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.” https://www.bible.com/111/1ki.3.5-9,11-15.niv


Wisdom is no longer fashionable.

We listen more to social media “experts” or “talking heads” who are self-appointed gurus. (We call them guru because “charlatan” is too hard to spell).   As a result, the “feel good”, the popular, or the marketable highjack wisdom.


Wisdom is not intelligence. Many smart people are fools.   I am often surprised with how shallow their thinking is.


Wisdom is not experience. “Gray hair is a badge of honor; it is almost destined to show up on an executive bio. But leaders aren’t wise as a result of their experiences. They are wise because of their ability to utilize those experiences.”  Davis, Richard A.. The Intangibles of Leadership: The 10 Qualities of Superior Executive Performance (p. 4). John Wiley and Sons.


In today’s changing environment, wisdom must be the leader’s guide.  Over the last 100 years: we abandoned traditional values; relativism replaced absolute truth; enlightenment replaced understanding; the media replaced the church as the moral compass.


Some believe that artificial intelligence is the answer.  Is machine learning able to capture wisdom? Can we program wisdom? Remember, the computer is a moron.


Hunting for wisdom is a lifelong journey which feels elusive.  When you think you are close, you soon realize how far you have to go. It is, but, a necessary pursuit for responsible leaders.


Here are 3 ideas from Dr. Davis to develop your wisdom:

  1. Develop a teachable point of view (TPOV). See HBR
  2. Seek new ideas
    • Read
    • Challenge yourself
    • Explore the arts
    • Seek wise people
  3. Find a confidante that you trust


But there is more.  Cyrus said, “and in the long run, we mortals need the help of the gods to stay on the path of wisdom.”  Xenophon’s Cyrus the Great (page 21). St. Martin’s Press.


There is another way.


“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” https://www.bible.com/111/jas.1.5.niv


In conclusion, don’t fall into herd mentality, or “the madness of the crowd”. As a leader you are responsible for many things; hunting for wisdom is a journey worth investing.